Preparation is Key in Choosing College and Applying For Scholarships

By Blake Palmer

There are thousands of colleges to choose from, however when narrowed down to your student’s preferences, high school seniors typically have 2-3 choices on the top of their list. Parents want to help their kid make the right choice, but with so many schools, what is the best way to narrow the options down?

Preparation is key. Students should research colleges, take the SAT and/or ACT tests and and apply for any available scholarships. them.

Researching colleges today is easier than ever, because most have great websites with nearly any information you could ask for. Whether the student wants to study Biomedical Engineering at Arizona State University or Marketing Management at Ohio State University, research will help give your student the answers they’re looking for. If possible, set up and attend a college visit with your student. If visiting isn’t an option, many colleges offer interactive tours of the campus on their website.

Almost every college will ask for your SAT or ACT scores. Some schools require both, while others only require one or the other. Don’t fret if you do not do as well as you had hoped. By planning ahead and taking the test early, you have time to take them again if necessary. Both tests can be taken multiple times (although there is a cost) and if absolutely necessary, you can take them well into the summer before college (although not recommended by most admission offices).

The last piece of advice for students and parents that I recommend is to look into scholarships at your high school and potential choice colleges. Unfortunately, higher level education can be costly, and additional fees such as textbooks and living expenses do add up. Have your student talk to the counselor at their school, e-mail college offices, and investigate what scholarships are out there.

A note to students preparing for college: Don’t be afraid to be yourself, and don’t be afraid to dive into the unknown and find your niche within whichever school you choose. At the end of the day, there isn’t really a wrong answer as to where you go. You have the ability to succeed at any school. Do what you feel best sets you up for the future you desire.

Blake Palmer is the Vanderburgh County Teen Court Program Coordinator at Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana.